Somebuddy Loves ~ Charlotte Ghaie

To celebrate this Mother's Day, we've sat down with artist, and former SBLY gal ~ Charlotte, to speak of her experiences as a woman, artist and mother.
What does being a mum / motherhood mean to you?

Motherhood is particularly interesting to me, the dualities and complexities and how it changes you in ways you never expected. One description that really resonated with me is the Jungian and alchemical idea of motherhood being like ‘the calcinatio’ - the burning away of whatever is not needed, with whatever is needed becoming purified and calcified. It’s an empowering perspective that helps with the deep surrender that is asked of you day after day. No new life can arise without the death of the old.

Could you give us a brief description of where you are at right now in life, home, career, and motherhood?

Right now I’m living on the surf coast/Wadawurrung country with my partner, our two children and our most beloved dog Mini Moon Rabbit. After two years in the Northern Rivers we moved back to Victoria to run the Lorne Theatre. We’d lived in Melbourne/Naarm for about 20 years, never imagining we’d one day be living by the ocean and bush trails with native orchids and king parrots, kookaburras and kangaroos just outside our window. My three year old has been recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes so that’s become the focus for now. It’s been a lot like having a newborn baby, she needs to be with me or her dad at all times so we can monitor her blood glucose levels, food, activity etc. It's been a big adjustment for the four of us. 

1. Charlotte Ghaie, Three Sisters Again and Again, 2023, Soft Pastel on Paper, 2. Charlotte Ghaie, As a seated nude, 2023, Soft pastel on paper  

What have been the challenges and the joys?

The joys: meeting these two little people who I get to know and learn from, and seeing their friendship and love for each other bloom. The noise of them laughing together might be possibly my favourite thing, that or their freedom when they dance. They inspire me endlessly. The challenges have largely been in the transitions: from the individual to mother/caregiver, leaving and going into the paid workforce, moving homes and schools while being their constant, internal and external pressure to do it ‘right’ and be ‘good’, deep breathing through meltdowns (theirs and mine).
How have you managed the career / life / motherhood balance?

First of all, I have to remind myself that parenting is WORK, even though it’s rarely valued by society and almost always unpaid, however I really hope there is a shift in our collective consciousness. I’ve been fortunate to have periods when I worked as a school teacher, studied, been with the kids full time or been able to step away to focus on art. Right now I’m a bit in the middle. The transition from mother to carer is another one that I’m currently navigating, everything falls away when there is illness in a child.

Charlotte wears Karen Walker Bessie CardiganPaloma Wool Volga Skirt & Le Bon Shoppe Varsity Socks

How has it affected / inspired your work?

Motherhood and my desire to find my own way through it, and heal intergenerational patterns was really the catalyst for making art again after a long time away. While I was studying art therapy and working with the unconscious, the shadow, the inner child etc. it only made sense to connect with the early experiences of being a mum. The image making process, like motherhood, feels ancient and primeval. I’m obsessed with the clay ‘mother goddesses’ made in the Harappan civilization 2500 BC. I got to see them in the National Museum, New Delhi last year, it felt like a pilgrimage - I cried! To think that women have been using creativity as a way to invoke strength, healing and hope in their everyday lives reinforces the knowledge that making art is essential for my and therefore my family’s wellbeing.
Have there been any women or role models that have inspired you?

Oh, so many! I don’t know if I have enough room or time! I admire and am inspired by a countless number of friends and family in my personal life, for many different reasons, some for the work they accomplish while caring for their children, some for the presence and patience they bring to challenging times, and others for how they manage to play and have fun with their kids when there’s other pressures. Friends who raise children solo and friends who choose not to have children. And as for people I don’t know… well, I can’t resist an Olivia Laing or Jennifer Higgie book, Katy Hessel’s Great Women Artist podcast, Maya Ruznic and Marlene Dumas paintings or the music of Kelela or Alice Coltrane.
What are your plans with your art for the future?

I have a solo show at Sunday Salon in December which I’m looking forward to getting back into the studio for as well as plans for collaborations with musicians and some art workshops. I have dreams of international residencies with and without my kids but, like most, I am waiting for the right time within my family unit to make that happen. 
Charlotte's work is available for purchase via Sunday Salon.